Bronze VS Brass Valves: What’s The Difference?

Developed back in 3300 BC, bronze is the very first alloy created by man and is one of the most common valve materials. It is a close cousin, brass, is also widely used for valves. 

These two metals have a number of similarities and differences. When it comes down to correct application, it is important that you know the properties of bronze vs brass.

For example, did you know that bronze valves can contaminate water with lead? As an engineer, the last thing you want is to let a small thing like the wrong valve type compromise your project. 

Read on to understand the differences and similarities between brass and bronze valves and some of their common applications and developments in their capabilities. 

Bronze Valves

Bronze is traditionally made of a mixture of copper and tin. It is more resistant to cracking than something like iron, is malleable, and can be cast or machined into valves and other components. 

Some types of brass nowadays also contain manganese, aluminum, or nickel, and you can now also get brass valves that contain reduced levels of lead, which sometimes are low enough to meet the Clean Water Act.

Pros of Bronze Valves

There are a few advantages associated with bronze valves. These are:

  • Low cost (sometimes cheaper than brass valves)
  • High ductility levels
  • Corrosion-resistance

Cons of Bronze Valves

However, bronze valves also have some cons to them. These are:

  • High porosity (thanks to being cast) which can lead to gradual degradation
  • Rough surface
  • Lead content

It is worthwhile to note that while most bronze valves have a porous surface, some bronze alloys with certain additives can hold a polish.

Common Applications of Bronze Valves

Bronze valves are commonly used in the petrochemical industry and in high-performance use cases, particularly in marine environments where low levels of corrosion are a requirement. 

Brass Valves

Brass alloys comprise mainly of copper and zinc. Brass is highly malleable and can be cast or machined. 

Brass valves are considered to be superior to bronze valves in terms of durability and performance. Let’s look at their pros and cons. 

Pros of Brass Valves

Some pros of brass valves are:

  • Highly corrosion-resistant (more so than bronze)
  • Very low (to no) levels of lead present
  • Highly durable
  • Malleable

Cons of Brass Valves

Potential drawbacks of brass valves are:

  • Higher price point
  • Can undergo a corrosive process of dezincification when in contact with high levels of chlorine

Common Applications of Brass Valves

Thanks to their high level of corrosion resistance, like bronze, brass valves are commonly used in the petrochemical and marine industry.

Brass shutoff valves and ball valves are also widely used in the natural gas industry where it has been found that Teflon sealed brass valves can withstand exposure to fire as favorably as costlier stainless steel versions. 

Now You Know the Difference Between Bronze vs Brass Valves

Now that you know the different properties of bronze vs brass valves you can make an informed decision on which are best to use for specific applications. 

If you need to make an order of bronze or brass valves browse our selection of valves and request a free quote